Background/aims: Dietary restriction of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) may relieve symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We investigated whether this diet alters microbial fermentation, a process that may be involved in IBS symptom generation.
Methods: Patients with IBS were included consecutively to participate in a 4-week FODMAP restricted diet. IBS symptoms were evaluated by using the IBS severity scoring system (IBS-SSS). Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were analyzed in fecal samples before and after the dietary intervention, both at baseline and after in vitro fermentation for 24 h.
Results: Sixty-three patients completed the study. Following the dietary intervention, IBS-SSS scores improved significantly (p < 0.0001). Total SCFA levels were reduced in fecal samples analyzed both at baseline (p = 0.005) and after in vitro fermentation for 24 h (p = 0.013). Following diet, baseline levels of acetic (p = 0.003) and n-butyric acids (p = 0.009) decreased, whereas 24 h levels of i-butyric (p = 0.003) and i-valeric acids (p = 0.003) increased. Fecal SCFA levels and IBS symptom scores were not correlated.
Conclusion: Dietary FODMAP restriction markedly modulated fecal fermentation in patients with IBS. Saccharolytic fermentation decreased, while proteolytic fermentation increased, apparently independent of symptoms.
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.